When Buddhism is on the verge of extinction, all Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas should take it upon themselves to make Buddhism flourish again. It is said, “The well-being of the nation is every citizen’s responsibility.” We can say, “The well-being of Buddhism is everyone’s responsibility.” However, Buddhists should take even more responsibility than other people, and should not shift the responsibility to others. We should ask ourselves: How can we revive Buddhism and make it grow and prosper? This takes some deep self-reflection! At all times we should take stock of ourselves to see whether we have done what we ought to do. If we haven’t, why have we failed?
The propagation of the Buddhadharma is everyone’s business. Only when we all share the work－when people who have money give money and those who are strong give their strength－and strive to unite can we make Buddhism flourish. There’s a saying, “Unity is power.” We shouldn’t be scattered, like grains of sand on a plate, nor should we think that we can be idle spectators who just watch from the sidelines.
Once we clearly recognize our duty as Buddhist disciples, we should not leave it to others and think, “Well, people are working on the propagation of Buddhadharma anyway. I am only one person; I can’t make much of a difference.” If everyone thought that way, when will Buddhism ever revive and flourish? Probably never!
In the present age, if there are no genuine cultivators in the world who can act as leaders, Buddhism will probably gradually decline and disappear. As Buddhists, we ought to do our very best for Buddhism. When it’s time to propagate the Dharma, we should advance heroically and unhesitatingly, without worrying whether people will be jealous or try to obstruct us; these are all tests. Vajra is forged only after being smelted and refined hundreds and thousands of times in the great blasting furnace. There’s a saying,
If you can endure the greatest suffering,
You’ll become the loftiest person.
These are words of experience. We must sincerely contribute to Buddhism. We should bring forth a firm resolve and true determination to work for Buddhism. Then, and only then, will Buddhism grow stronger day by day.
The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a place where genuine cultivation takes place. This is a known fact; we aren’t trying to deceive people. We must honestly and devotedly practice in accord with the teachings, and not fool people by wearing masks. We should not aim high without doing the groundwork. We should practice whatever we have learned. This is a cultivator’s duty. If you only talk but don’t practice, then you’re merely paying lip service, which won’t do any good. In that case, what hope is there of Buddhism ever flourishing?
A talk given on April 6, 1984